Operational Excellence in Aviation MRO
The ability to answer these questions is key in an MRO operation, as they establish a robust flow of information for the most critical area in MRO - Turn Around Time (TAT) to the customer. Therefore, our operations design should include the concept of a ‘guaranteed turn around time’ for information flow. For example, if we design a quoting group to meet every day at 2:00 PM to process quotes, everyone would know when the information would flow and when their quote would be ready. This would eliminate the many phone calls and e-mails chasing information on quotes as well! If we put FIFO (First In First Out) lanes in the office as well as the shop floor, everyone will know what to work on next, without a supervisor. These are just some of the examples of an operations design that can establish a guaranteed turn around time for information flow, and there are many more principles to follow. The end game in our design is not only to have end to end flow on the shop floor and in the office, but flow that ‘self heals’ without management intervention. That’s right. The operators themselves understand the flow, and know what to do when it begins to become abnormal. With this design, management now has time to work on ‘offense,’ or growing the business. After all, how will we grow the business if we do not have time to grow it?
In the current operations design for MRO, the profitability and growth of the operation, along with its ability to contribute to shareholder value, depends mostly on the leader’s background, management experience, and leadership style. We rely on them to deliver product to the customer in order to return profit and shareholder value, and they must do this on their own, without any ‘laws of physics,’ or design for the operation in motion. However, a different design does exist, and there are principles to use to design the dynamic side of the business to achieve a guaranteed turn around time to the customer. The result of applying these principles is that “Each and every employee can see the flow of value to the customer, and fix that flow before it breaks down.”SM In other words, we design our operation for Operational Excellence.